Here are Trey Parker and Matt Stone on The Book of Mormon, a hotly anticipated show we have the increasingly rare luxury of knowing very little about: “We made a conscious decision to say, ‘Let’s not parody or make fun of other musicals.’ We wanted this to be a musical that stood on its own feet.”
We can all feign shock that the creators of South Park and Team America actually respect and revere a form they’ve deployed for easy laughs again and again, but anyone who listens to their songs can hear the deep affection for — and impressive grasp of — musical theater. These alpha-ironists might be just the ambassadors of sincerity that Broadway needs. Could this, thankfully, mark the beginning of the end of the self-referensical? (I say this with all due self-laceration.) Can musicals be devastatingly funny again without directly parodying and air-quoting other musicals? Can we finally put a button on “The Song That Goes Like This”? Here’s hopin’.